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CHARLES MAROWITZ and I were introduced to each other in the early 1960s when the actor I was playing opposite in a William Saroyan double-bill at the Duke of York's announced he was about to revive his performance of Hamlet, which he had played for Charles in Peter Brook's Theatre of Cruelty season. Charles had seen me in a play at what was the Hampstead Theatre Club where I prophetically played a lion-tamer. Neither of these performances indicated what he saw in me to play Gertrude as a mother merely eight years older than her son, Hamlet.
In his flat, the first sight of Charles was forbidding: he was very tall, unhealthily pale with a lot of black hair, a dead ringer in my eyes for Rasputin. He offered me a cup of coffee and, when he went to fetch it from the kitchen, I hastily scanned his bookshelves, to see if they would tell me something about the man. The books were terrifying as he was so obviously very well read in terms theatrical from A to Z, and historically from the beginning of time to contemporary theatre. His smile obliterated the Rasputin impression: it was a wolfish grin. So I slipped into thinking I could play Little Red Riding Hood to his Big Bad Wolf.
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